August 6, 2010: Kuujjuaq, Nunavik

Journal Entries:

*Photos by Lee Narraway, Students on Ice*

Andrew Wong, Student

Today has definitely been a highlight of our expedition so far, full of new experiences and new sights. I am currently writing this entry in a cabin somewhere in the ice-strengthened ship M/V Lyubov Orlova! It is so hard to decide where to start in sharing today's events. We started off by waking up at an early 5:15am, to go to the Ottawa airport for our flight to Kuujjuaq! During the flight, Hannah, an Inuk, sat with me as I learned how to write in Inuktitut.  Upon arrival in Kuujjuaq, the first thing I noticed was the cool breeze that swept our faces...much different from the searing heat in Ottawa.

After a warm welcome at the Town Hall we had lunch and toured the Nunavik Research Centre where Arctic pathology work in relation to climate change is done.  After, we did something I have dreamed of doing for years and years! I traveled in a Zodiac for the first time, experiencing the absolute joy of Arctic spray splashing me! We were boarding the Orlova, anchored offshore in deeper water. Upon arriving on the ship, I got lost exploring the ship! I finished off the day on deck, taking in the absolutely spectacular view of Ungava Bay, watching the orange sunset, powerfully radiating upon the majestic marine-blue waters.

Art Sateana, Student

Well, today all the people on Students On Ice have been up since 5:30am Ottawa time. We went to the airport around 6:30 or 7:00 am. We flew to Kujjuaq, Nunavik today, and the Bowhead group went to the Nunavik Research Center. We've been on the Lyubov Orlova since 5:00 pm, we set sail around 7:30 and I love it.

I am going to bed in approximately 2 minutes, so I would like to say I love my mother Andrea, my father James, my three sister Allysha, Candis, and Chantel Sateana. I love them all. Good night from Students on Ice!

Chantal Bavard, Student

Today was really exciting ! We embarked on a fascinating adventure towards the great Arctic. We all have been up since 5 or 6 this morning which is quite different because I usually wake in in the afternoon. Despite everything like the early wake up calls and crazy zodiac rides I'm having a lot of fun.  When we finally took off into the Arctic all these things started popping into my head, or ideas that  streamed rapidly like flowing water … I'm in the Arctic, well I live in the North but its nothing like this, nothing like this at all.  So for later a due see you !!!!!

Carson Hardy, Student

Bright and early we woke.  Five thirty, and we were all awake and bustling about packing our bags to put on the truck that would take it to the chartered flight.  With a small snack of granola bars we packed the truck and hopped on the bus that took us straight onto the tarmac.  We boarded the plane and flew north for two hours until we landed in the town of Kuujjuaq, which was a pleasant temperature compared to the stifling heat of Ottawa.  All of us were excited and we walked into downtown Kuujjuaq to attend another opening ceremony/kickoff.  Many important supporters made speeches to enlighten us and wish us luck.  Because of the rain we had a BBQ indoors, where many of us tried caribou for the first time.  Moe and I learned how to read and pronounce Inuktitut; however, we don't understand anything that we say or read.... While it was still raining, we went through security and went onto the zodiacs which took us three kilometers out into Ungava bay.

Arriving on the boat was probably the most exciting and relieving thing of the day.  Most of us were wet, cold and tired, so getting onto the ship was very relieving.  The ship is crewed by about 50 people, a lot of them being Russian.


Hannah Jacobs, Student

First day on board the Orlova! It feels like today has been about three days long, after an early wake-up call we hopped on our First Air flight to Kuujjuaq. Once there we had an amazing welcome including amazing speakers and incredible throat singing followed by a BBQ. It feels amazing to be back on a ship, I spent my first moments on deck way up on the bow feeling the sea air on my face. We had an amazing dinner which was an optimistic start to the on ship portion of the expedition. We sailed past the tree line and are now in full tundra. The sunset cast beautiful shadows and light on the misty outcrops of rock jutting out from the water. Curfew is coming up soon so I am eager to get back  out on deck!


K.T. Irwin, Student

It has been an incredible first day in the Arctic. The day has been jam packed, with tons of new people, places and experiences.

Today we were all woken up at 5:30am, but I didn’t mind because I knew our unique journey was about to start. We were soon on a plane, with First Air, on our way, Kuujjuaq, Nunavik. It was the most amazing feeling as we began our descent into the Arctic. When we landed we walked to the town hall where we were greeted with a kick-off event for our adventure. During the ceremony there was tons of inspiring speeches, wise words, and amazing art (throat singing). During, you could feel the anticipation growing in the room. From there we had a quick lunch, which included caribou, and then headed out to see the town. It was amazing to finally be in a Inuit community and witness first-hand what I have been learning about in books. We soon headed to the beach and after a extensive security check headed out to the boat via Zodiac. It was about a 20min ride in the rain and cold (fun though)! When we got on board the ship and started moving, it was a magical moment! After some dinner, card games, and debriefing about our crazy day, it’s time to go to bed. Trust me I am going to sleep like a baby!

Megan Schlorff, Student

We are in the Arctic!  We have officially passed the tree line and I am so excited that we have finally arrived.  I woke up this morning at 5:30 a.m. to get ready and travel to the airport.  At the airport we pulled right up to the plane and walked on without having to even enter a terminal.  When we landed in Kuujjuaq, I was immediately struck by the colourful buildings and the expanse of the community.  It really had a charming feel that I was not expecting.  We had a wonderful program at the Town Hall where the highlight was hearing three SOI students throat sing. 

We went for a tour of the Nunavik Research Centre and learned about all of their research projects.  We were finally ready to go down to the beach where we cleared security and got on the zodiacs.  The zodiac ride was very wet to say the least. :)  I quickly became oriented with the ship and found my cabin.  The highlight of the day was definitely going out on the deck for first time.  We all went out as a group as the ship set sail.  My first glimpse of the scenery was amazing.  It looks so crisp and pristine and flawless.  I can't wait to see more.

Moe Qureshi, Student

5:30 am was the unpleasant hour that we were forced to wake up. After a series of random events, I found myself on an airplane.

The great part about this trip is the diversity of the people. I'm actually speaking French! I've studied it for years but I never imagined myself speaking it this early.

We arrived in Kuujjuaq where we had a beautiful ceremony and kickoff. The best part was the three Olympic throat singers that are coming with us to the arctic. Carson and I also learned how to read Inuk, but we don't understand anything.

However, by far, the best part of the day was going on the Zodiak for the first time. I was not prepared at all. The fact that my friend lied to me and said it would be 17 degrees and sunny, I wore just a sweater and pants. It started raining and it was really cold. Everyone got wet on the zodiac and started to complain, but I enjoyed every second of it. It was worth it. Not only because I sat close to Peter Mansbridge, but it was truly an awesome experience.

Anyway I have no internet up here and no way to call my parents so I hope they're reading this and enjoying my journey.


Olivia Rempel, Student

'Seven month is too long' said Hannah as we stood on the bow of our ship, the beautiful Lybubov Orlova, with the Arctic breeze whipping our faces and the ship cutting through the water below our feet. Although it has only been seven months, it feels as though my expedition to Antarctica happened years ago. The rough waters and the pelting rain that soaked us on the zodiac ride to our ship this afternoon cleared up nicely in the evening, to allow for deck time, which I have been taking full advantage of.

I must now sign off, for I plan on spending five more minutes on deck before I pack it in for the night.

Trent Powell, Student

First of all good evening to everyone, had a great day once again. This is the first journal I’ve done so don't be too harsh! We flew from Ottawa to Kuujjuaq on our First Air flight. Then we spent some time with the elders had a couple speech’s and then a great BBQ! We are now sailing on the Lyubov Orlova to Ungava Bay to start the expedition. Well, I can't have the computer too long… so this is Trent signing off.

Meagan LeMessurier, Expedition Staff

Leaving Ungava Bay, Nunavik, Quebec

Today has been a wonderfully long day.  It’s been busy with a wake up at 5:30 followed by the loading of the luggage, the loading of the students (on to a bus and then a First Air air-plane).  We then took off on a chartered air-plane to the town of Kuujjuaq, Nunavik.

We were then delighted to partake in a ceremony at the town centre.  Some of us were delegated to preparing food for the BBQ that followed the celebrations. After the BBQ the group was split into two where some took the tour of the town (me included) while others toured the Inuit Research Centre. During our tour of the town we ended up visiting the youth centre and spending sometime there with the local youth (due to the extensive rain). 

We eventually made our way to the beach where we took multiple zodiac trips to our vessel the MV-LYUBOV ORLOVA. I am sharing a room with one other person (Maggie Crump). Besides this, faithful, followers the night has been pretty filled with presentations and briefings, I promise more to come tomorrow.


Marine Riponi, Student

Journee qui de resume en trois mots: rain, wet, cold !

Reveil matinal pour prendre l avion et alle a Kuujjuaq. Malgres le froid persistant, nous avons ete acceuillie chaleureusement par la comunaute inuit. On a chante avec le guitariste de l equipe des musiques composees par lui meme, puis il y a eu des discours et … le barbecue !! j ai ainsi mange un hamburger sans ham mais avec une galette de cereale.     C est la que les nuages ont eu l idee de se vider un peu … sous le deluge, nous avons visite la ville. Au entre culturel, nous avons fait des jeux avec des petits inuits tres sympa.     Les maisons sont tres simples, avec un toit plat. On pourrait croire les gens pauvres, mais quand on rentre dans la superette, on voit a cote des chewing gum des DVD bluray, des Wii et des jeux et, au fond, des rollers !     Apres, nous avons embarque sur le bateau en utilisant des zodiacs. C etait genial, meme si on etait trempe jusqu aux os. Pour ne pas y penser, nous avons parler de nous meme. Le bateau est genial ! Grand, les cabines pas tres petites et, surtout, CHAUFFE !! Nous avons passe le reste de l aprem sur le pont, a prendre des photos.     Crise cardiaque avant de partir car le bateau a fait boAAT, BOAAAT BOAAT !!!! Tout le monde a fippe a cause de cet ENORME bruit !!     On nous a aussi presente les membres de l equipage. Apres le diner, on nous a parle de l arctique ( rechauffement, multiplication des activites humaines, “modernisation “ etc. Puis Geoff nous a fait un briefing sur la journee de demain.     Je sais maintenant ce qu est le mal de mer! J ai l impression que mon estomac se balade partout dans mon ventre... je vais aller me coucher, mes yeux se ferment tout seul. Demain, nous irons sur le sol Arctique !     Woa... quel nuit! J ai l impression d etre sur une balancoire...


Estelle Simon, Student

Ce matin, nous nous sommes reveilles a 5h45am, direction l'aeroport. Surprise ! Le bus nous a debarques sur la piste d'aterrissage, quelques metres a cote de NOTRE avion! Pas de securite, pas d<enregistrement, pas d'attente, juste embarquer et s'envoler ! C'est ce que j'appelle voyager!En arrivant, un tapis rouge nous attendait emme devant l'avion. Un fois assise, j;avais seulement envie de voir, de sentir et de gouter l'Arctique.

Ma premiere marche en sol polaire est magique! Nous avons assiste a une ceremonie de bienvenue a Kuujuaq avec des chants de gorge et des prieres des aines inuits. Et devinez quoi... Il pleut a boire debout ! Nous avons fait une excursion dans es rues de Kuujuaq, ala pluie battante, mais le voyage s'annonce bien! Ensuite, nous avons passe pleins de points de securite avec pleins de  Russes se criant entre eux. En fait, l'equipage du bateau est russe. Nous sommes finalement embarques dans les zodiaks, et au fond de la baie, nous avons apercus une ombre, une forme fantomatique a travers la brume, qui plus tard, nous est apparue comme notre bateau, le Lyubov Orlova. Il est majestuex. WOW! Peu apres notre arrivee, nous sommes partis avec la corne de brume du bateau, le vrai voyage commencant. Voir ces paysages a couper le souffle etait magique. Le soleil a tranquillement pointer son nez a travers les nuages, et nous avosn enfin pu respirer a fond l'air pur polaire. Tout semble venir d'un autre monde!




J'ai joue avec de jeunes Inuits!

Je porte maintenant la tuque... en plein mois d'aout!

J'ai failli acheter un 4roues, dans un depanneur!

J'ai rencontre le maire de Kuujuaq.

J'ai vu mon premier Inuqshuk.

Le Global Mail a publie un article sur SOI.

Nous sommes suivis par le village au complet, parce que nous avons Peter Mansbridge dans notre equipe, et tous les Inuits le connaissent, car lorsque la television est arrivee a Kuujuaq, il etait l'annonceur officiel de CBC. Ils ne parlent que de lui!


Kim Aubut Demers, Student

Vous savez ces petits sacs blancs en papier, ces effrayantes petites choses qu'ils nous donnent, dans l'avion? Hé bien, j'ai malheureusement eu l'occasion à quelques reprises de les utiliser aujourd'hui, sur le bateau. Je n'étais pas la seule d'ailleurs, nous tenions le docteur Terry fort occupé à distribuer des Gravol et des biscuits soda à qui mieuh-mieuh. Ah, quelle joie que le mal de mer! J'ai pu contempler le premier iceberg à travers la fenêtre de la bibliothèque, la même fenêtre par laquelle on pouvait voir des vagues de 3,5 mètres et de 4 mètres! Lors de notre arrivée à Diana's Island, la mer s'était calmée, (tout comme nos estomacs), et nous avons pris les Zodiacs pour nous rendre sur une plage de l'île. La brume voilait majestueusement tout : les collines, le Lyubov Orlova au loin, l'horizon... cela créait un flou artistique, un très joli paysage. En petits groupes, nous suivions les traces, de la fourrure et des excréments, d'une horde de boeufs musqués espérant tous apercevoir une grosse tête poilue. J'ai pu observer et photographier plusieurs spécimens de la flore de l'île, majoritairement de toutes petites fleurs, de la mousse, du lichen et des champignons. À défaut de rencontrer des boeufs musqués bien en forme, nous avons trouvé une carcasse de ces énormes créatures et le crâne d'une autre! Les restes de la bête semblaient dire que celle-ci s'était simplement étendue là, dans la plaine, et s'était doucement éteinte. Pas de trace d'attaque par les loups ou par un ours. Sur la plage nous avons trouvé quelques déchets, des morceaux de plastique et un baril de métal. De retour sur l'Orlova, Geoff Green nous a annoncé que tout le long du passage du Nord Ouest, que nous sommes en train de traverser, il n'y avait pas de glace, contrairement à d'habitude. Après un délicieux souper, (le premier de la journée pour plusieurs), je me suis couchée en me laissant bercer par le mouvement du bateau.

À bientôt, moussaillons!


Jonathan Alexander, Student


This morning we woke up early at around 5:30 to get ready for our flight to Kuujjuaq where we finally got to board our charter flight at 7:30. I was excited to finally get back to the arctic, and I was so happy to get away from the heat in Ottawa. The first thing we did in Kuujjuaq was we walked to the town hall for a few speeches and a BBQ lunch. One of the speeches was from the mayor of Kuujjuaq, the president of Makivik inc and a few from the locals. When the speeches were done we had a big BBQ with the public as well and met a lot more people at lunch. After lunch we got a tour of their new research centre and it was quite interesting.


 Upon finishing our tour at the research centre, we headed to the beach where we had to go through security before finally going on our home for the next two weeks, the Lyubov Orlova. On our way to the Orlova we had to take a zodiac cruise to the ship and it was my first time in a zodiac. When we arrived on the ship we were already assigned our cabins and my roommate is a guy named Art and he is a cool kid. When we finally settled in to our cabins and had a look around the ship, we all went on deck to watch as we left the harbour and started our trip to the Arctic.  


Mike Jensen

Greetings from the Lyubov Orlova heading north through Ungava Bay! We set sail just a few short hours ago after a flurry of activities throughout the day brought us from our meeting place in Ottawa to the friendly town of Kuujjuaq on the northern coast of Quebec to zodiacs that carried us to our new home for the next two weeks.

Where to begin… well, first, I hope this is getting through to everyone. So far, I have either been updating this blog personally, or emailing it to someone personally. But now, I have to rely on satellite technology to beam this update to you. Hopefully some pictures came through as well.

Ottawa this morning was rushed. We were up at the ungodly hour of 5:30am to pack our bags for the airport. Our flight to Kuujjuaq was uneventful, but our arrival was not. For starters, there was a driving rain through most of the day. Having packed most of my wet weather gear safely in the backpack that was on its way to the ship, it didn’t take long for the rain to soak me to the skin.

But despite the cold weather, the reception was far from cold. After some speeches, we were treated to a BBQ of hamburgers, caribou skewers and potato salad. Then it was off to explore this fine town. One of our stops was to the Nunavik Research Centre, where they are conducting cutting-edge research on many northern issues.

Finally, it was off to the beach for our zodiac rides to the Orlova. It was funny – as we approached alongside, I was struck by a thought I had the day we DISembarked from the ship last year. After the two incredible weeks aboard her, saying goodbye was tough. So I just thought to myself “see you later”. And as I climbed aboard her for the first time this year, a wave a familiarity ran over me.

Last update, I talked a bit about home, especially its impact on the northern students. Being aboard the Orlova does feel a little bit like home and it hasn’t take long for the routine to settle in for myself, or the new students. Before long, we weighed anchor and headed off towards Ungava Bay.

Speaking of the students, they continue to mesh very well in this short time. Obvious cliques are forming, which are discouraged in the long run, but are fine for now. Sadly, the friendship and camaraderie hasn’t extended to one of the Northern students, who I mentioned last update has come down with a severe bout of homesickness. He has made the decision to stay in Kuujjuaq until he can safely fly home.

I guess in the end, if your attachment to home is greater than your desire to explore and participate in the adventure, then the choice is pretty clear.

Tomorrow we are off to Diana Island, home to a LOT of musk oxen apparently. Hopefully my seasickness will stay abated as it is right now, and I will be able to carry on with whatever happens to come along.




Expedition Update - 5:30pm

Good afternoon! After a wonderful and busy day in Kuujjuaq - our team has boarded the ship and is ready to set sail for Arctic waters!

Thanks to a portable GPS system - we always know where the ship is located. The GPS is found on the SPOT Satellite Systems page - it is not embedded on our expedition site - so you will have to find your way back to us after you check it out!

However, we have updated yesterday's page with many photos of our exciting launch event in Ottawa at the beautiful Canadian Museum of Nature. We should mention, too, that 99% of our photos are taken by professional photographer Lee Narraway.

Click here to visit yesterday's activities!

Tonight out students will be busy on board exploring the ship and participating in briefings about tomorrow. And tomorrow will bring their first expedition landing... to the spectacular Diana Island! But more on that tomorrow!

Stay tuned for further updates!

Expedition Update - 8:00am

Good morning! It’s a bright and sunny day here in Ottawa - and our Expedition Team has just left Ottawa on its First Air charter flight for Kuujjuaq!

It was an early start to the day - with a 5:45 am wake-up call - but students usually catch some sleep during the 2.5 hr. flight north. Rested and well-fed, they have a busy day ahead of them! The community of Kuujjuaq - high on the northern tip of Quebec - is rolling out the red carpet for our Expedition Team today! There is a special welcome planned for today at the Kuukkuaq town hall. The event will feature lots of activities, including drumming, dancing, throat singing, Inuit games, a big barbeque, guided tours of the community, and a chance to meet with local dignitaries, elders - and lots of local youth. This first day in the Arctic is always a big highlight for our students!

At about 3:00 pm today, the students will travel to the mouth of Ungava Bay where they will take their first zodiac ride out to their Expedition ship - their floating home for the next two weeks!

Once on board, the students will have some time to explore the ship and unpack their belongings before heading out on deck to say goodbye to Kuujjuaq and set sail into Ungava Bay - and the beginning of their Arctic adventure!

Tonight, the team will enjoy a big welcome aboard dinner - and there will be safety briefings and meetings about tomorrow's adventures!

We have many photos and journal updates for you. We are synthesizing this information this morning and will have it all up on our website shortly!



Stay Tuned for Further Updates!



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